"What," demanded a protesting student at the height of the summer of protests just past, "is to become of democracy?"

No question better sums up a year ending, as it began, with terrorist massacres. Can democracy survive unbridled terror?

It faces other challenges as well, most conspicuously that of being taken for granted. Wartime British Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously called democracy "the worst form of government," thinking no doubt of the vacuity and inefficiency to which it is prone — "except," Churchill added, "for all the others." Generations with no experience of "all the others" may well forget to count their blessings.